Andres Duany: Vintage Seaside


“Grayton Beach is the just the setting to illustrate an article on Seaside as it was meant to be. Thirty five years ago, it was on this beach in Antoine Verglas’ photograph that we lived when designing Seaside. We were not even thirty years old. Robert and Darryl Davis had rented a rustic beachfront shack–all porch and two rooms, with the sunlight peeking through the old planks. It was in this house that Lizz and I understood their vision of a place where sand between the toes could remain unswept all over the plank floors. Grayton Beach is no longer this, nor is Seaside, and we are no longer thirty. The wide open dune and the rustic shacks of Grayton are all but gone, but the young woman on that beach reminds us of where Seaside was born. That Seaside is now sophisticated is welcome–but not if is at the expense of the spirit of its youth. The first houses built at Seaside–those on Tupelo Street are from those early days. The austere, even humble origins are there still. These memories of our youth are a vivid reality check against the incoming kitsch from the car-strangled suburbs of Destin and Panama City. It is also a reminder that in 1980, had it not been for Robert Davis going up against the easy money development trends, the entire of span of 30A would have become like much else in the United States — that bad dream of interchangeable commercial fakery. Instead, we still have Seaside standing as a permanent critique.It is the Grayton Beach of memory that we need to hold close as a standard of what 30A should remain. We fought for it then. It is worth fighting for now. I’m grateful to the artist’s eye of Verglas for reminding us of who we are meant to be.” – Andres Duany


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